You have a persona. You perform a polished version of yourself to the world. The real you is an animal that farts with relish, burps like a champ, scratches at will, and has been known to consume an entire box of krispy kreme donuts in a single sitting. In your performance of you, your hair is enhanced by product, your socks match, and you eat with a fork and knife.
The two are not the same.
Your performance of you is sexless (sexy, yes, but sex is sweaty and funny and awkward. The performance you is never undone). The performance you is a fluidless mannequin that always smells of Abercrombie and Fitch. Or lavender. Or patchouli. Or Jo Malone. Or Axe. Or whatever.
But. Always the but.
It is incumbent that you never confuse the performance you with the animal you. Bad behavior happens when these two things get confused. Dishonesty happens when you no longer recognize the difference between the two, and not just that you become dishonest with others… I’m talking about the inability to tell yourself the truth about yourself, which is intellectually fatal.
Your ability to *do* smart (rather than be smart) depends on the honest internal conversation with yourself about yourself. Also known as being self-aware. This is how you know your weaknesses and your strengths, this is how you know exactly how grateful you should be, this is where you squash your own pretentiousness before it gets out of control. This is how you know when you should say sorry. This is where you invest in the relationships that matter most. This is how you remain someone capable of introspection, course correction, and intimacy. This is how you retain the ability to be great.
Look at the people who have bought their own bullshit. You don’t want to be these people.
- John Mayer. Incredibly talented. Bought his own bullshit. Is a totally unironic twat.
- Lindsay Lohan. Incredibly talent. Got up her own ass about how talented and special she is. By all accounts, a complete ass.
- Johnny Depp. Beautiful. Talented. Completely unaware that he’s become a parody of the aging actor; as of this writing, an alleged domestic abuser;has disappeared into the quirks (also unironically); and is gradually becoming more and more ridiculous as the days go by.
People who seem to have avoided buying their own bullshit. You want to be these people.
- Helen Mirrin. Talented. Beautiful. Sense of humor still intact. Aging exquisitely.
- Mark Ruffalo. Avenger. The boy next door. Hasn’t lost touch with the world the rest of us live in.
- Bruce Springsteen. Really, there are no words. Also doesn’t seem to have lost touch with the real world.
Don’t buy your own bullshit.